The Old Pine Tree

These Days

I’ve been off work since September 4th, and I go back tomorrow. People have asked me both if I still like my job and if I am ready to go back. The vacation was fully enjoyed but the answer to both is yes; how good to say so.

When I left it was summer and now it is fall. Everything around me says so. Firewood is getting cut and the garden is dying (I pulled plants up and out of the earth today) and the bare ground looks beautiful to me; like a deep breath. The hydrangeas are turning a deep malbec hue. The apples on the trees are blushing now, catching the eye of anyone passing. I got some from the neighbor’s woods to press in my new juicer. Carrots and celery juice never tasted so tart. Carrots from the garden I might add. I like providing for myself.

The flannel sheets are clean so bring on the cold weather. We’ve done this before and it shall not be any different this year. Most people take comfort in routine, anyway.

Home Sweet Maine

I love how the terminals in Portland have welcome home signs; they know there’s an indescribable feeling when you’re back over the Maine border; everything feels right.

It’s 20 degrees colder here than it was in Newark, and 40 degrees colder than Aruba (which is the perfect distance from the equator). Goodbye Dutch Antilles. Thanks for the sun, sand, turquoise water, and dreamy days. Oh ya, and the broken toe.

Under the watapana tree

Today, by the sea.

Please excuse my absence. I’m stretching out summer just a little bit longer in the Dutch Antilles.

Under the watapana tree

Today, by the sea.

Please excuse my absence. I’m stretching out summer just a little bit longer in the Dutch Antilles.

Pals

Me and Ike, enjoying a little September sunshine together. Next time I promise to crush the apple before I give it to you, buddy.

End of summer

September came on with such fierce beauty it left me raw. The limbs on the apple trees are heavy this year, the fields are getting hayed for the last time, and the wind is coming on in just the right way; makes me want to tuck myself under covers for a good long sleep.

End of summer

September came on with such fierce beauty it left me raw. The limbs on the apple trees are heavy this year, the fields are getting hayed for the last time, and the wind is coming on in just the right way; makes me want to tuck myself under covers for a good long sleep.

Sea Belt

This picture is deceiving. This a is growler of Marshall Wharf’s new Sea Belt beer (made with dried Maine seaweed). Sea Belt doesn’t come in growlers though (the benefits of being a local). Right now it’s only on tap, and according to David, the owner, they are hoping to put it in cans in about a month.

This beer has gotten a lot of press (NPR, for one) but per usual it took me a while to get around to trying it. I heard it was good though.

This beer balances out their line-up. Their beers run strongly on the hoppy side and this has a milder taste. It is sweet though, and has an undertone of saltiness. It’s darker and thicker than I expected. Despite its milder flavor it still packs the signature big Marshall Wharf punch and comes in at 8% abv. 

I’m not sure if this will be part of their year round menu or if it will be seasonal, but just in case you should get to a beer conscious bar near you, soon. 

Have any of you tried it yet? What did you think?

Country Road

Country Road

The last Friday in August

Lunch on the dock, with lobsters, mussels, clams, and corn on the cob cooked in the husk. Sure can’t complain about that view, that’s for sure.

noticed
Night meetings have been piling up, so today I took an extended lunch break (2.5 hours!) to go trail running. It has been summer hot and humid the last few days; getting in the woods was the right thing to do. The shade, the smell of the orange pine needles starting to find the ground and the heat on the high-tide river, and the scurry of anxious animals afraid of what I might bring all made for a nice midday retreat. 

noticed

Night meetings have been piling up, so today I took an extended lunch break (2.5 hours!) to go trail running. It has been summer hot and humid the last few days; getting in the woods was the right thing to do. The shade, the smell of the orange pine needles starting to find the ground and the heat on the high-tide river, and the scurry of anxious animals afraid of what I might bring all made for a nice midday retreat. 

Heat wave

The next few days we have what will probably be our last real sip of summer. I’ll be running islands and swimming in the ocean and investigating the garden barefoot, snacking on fresh peas. What else would I do? I bet if you try real hard you can picture me smiling.

oldfishingphotos:

1960s SummerPhoto: Volkmar Wentzel / Source: natgeofound

Sometimes photos you’ve never seen before somehow feel familiar.

oldfishingphotos:

1960s Summer
Photo: Volkmar Wentzel / Source: natgeofound

Sometimes photos you’ve never seen before somehow feel familiar.

First batch

It’s hard to believe I have the headspace to do any canning right now, but the possibility of wasting food that I grew puts a mighty weight on a person.

This was a small batch of dilly beans, but it taught me that small batches are much less stressful and take up less time. I also learned that there is one good thing about electric stoves (and no other good things): they boil the water for the hot water bath in record speed.

I’m hoping there’s another equally big batch of beans waiting for me, because while three quarts is better than nothing it isn’t nearly enough to last a year. I also prefer to gift a jar or two rather then hoard them.

Next on the list is pickled peas, but those just get popped in the fridge.

930 uninhabited acres

I recently rediscovered a wild place I hadn’t explored in years. This week I drove 15 minutes north up the coast to run trails on a 930-acre island preserved for recreation and exploring the woods and the shore. Weekdays are a good time to go; I had the place to myself. Running was all up hill then down. I expected my legs to be stiff and cranky after a day off but they were surprisingly relaxed and ready to work. I got in a great run, ate handfuls of blackberries afterward (the place is dripping with fresh wild fruit right now), and stretched by the sea.

Happy tank full.

The F word

People like to talk about forgiveness, and how important it is, and how much better it makes you feel. It’s very easy to talk about forgiveness, but there is only one way to learn about it, and that is the hard way. It has taken me years to come to any real conclusion about forgiveness, and what I have learned is not what people always told me (and continue to tell me), or those cheesy quotes (which tend to be quite similar to what people always tell you).

In my opinion there are two kinds of forgiveness. There is the kind that equates to understanding someone’s actions. I believe that there is an element to this kind of forgiveness that is about saying “it’s ok.” It is that aspect that always made forgiveness very difficult for me. How do you forgive someone without believing that what happened was ok? This led me to the second kind of forgiveness, which is simply letting go. You don’t have to give anything to anyone, you don’t have to believe there was some rightness or alright-ness in whatever happened. It’s very personal.

Letting go can be as powerful as saying it’s alright. People always told me to get to a place where it was ok, but sometimes that can feel like you’re doing something for someone else rather than yourself, like giving them a gift. Letting go is a gift to yourself. Once I came to this conclusion, forgiveness became something I could finally wrap my head around.

for·give
verb
to stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

Forgiveness is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well. Forgiveness is different from condoning (failing to see the action as wrong and in need of forgiveness), excusing (not holding the offender as responsible for the action), pardoning (granted by a representative of society, such as a judge), forgetting (removing awareness of the offense from consciousness), and reconciliation (restoration of a relationship). In certain contexts, forgiveness is a legal term for absolving or giving up all claims on account of debt, loan, obligation or other claims. (via Wikipedia)

 

Cooking over a fire

This weekend I spent an evening in Montville with six girlfriends from high school for a friend’s bachelorette party. The camp we were at had a great fire pit made for cooking over. The hosts did such an awesome job planning the menu and cooking up delicious food while keeping it simple. 

It’s nice to be able to gather with a group of women you were close with at 18 and still have such comfort and ease together over a decade later.

This summer there has been a lot of gathering on docks and around camp fires with friends. It is part of what good summers are made of.